Content has many forms. New levels, gear, encounters, abilities, and zones excite us. It's the one thing that separates Norrath from AOL Instant Messenger. It is the context of our existence in Norrath. New features, zone revamps, even small UI patches are a form of new content to explore. Last week revealed quite a lot of upcoming content. Please spear me before I say the word content again.
The Omens of War whisper past us in the bars and inns of Norrath's cities. It appears the Wayfarer Brotherhood has bitten off a little more than it can chew. The wars of Mata Muram begin in two months.
SOE revealed few details about Omens of War but what they have revealed created quite a stir. New epics, new levels, a task system, a guild tribute system, new titles, and new graphics are all listed on the Omens of War website. There were a couple of other bits of discovered information including zone names that sound a lot like Lost Dungeon zone names (West Battlegrounds A, B, C, D) and notice that epic 2.0s are separate quests from original epics. One won't have to turn in or even acquire the original epics before acquiring the new epics. Even the Everquest board moderators don't seem to know much about this new expansion.
I hope to see a short-duration task system available to all levels. Why should the level 20s be the only ones to deliver propaganda between the Wayfarer camps? I'm already collecting zombie skin and vampire teeth for them, a demeaning job for a high priest of Tunare if I do say so myself, so why not make me the Norrathian equivalent of FedEx? Maybe I can get some special shorts!
Nothing is yet known about the zones, the encounters, or the rewards. I dream of another adventure point system. I loved the Wayfarer cookie idea posted by Pverex on last week's article. I dream of zones that scale for levels 20 to 70. I dream of Lost Dungeon style adventures with expedition style control. I dream of a smooth experience curve above 65 so I can still hunt with my level 50 friends.
The release date of Omens of War appears to be the end of July. Rod Humble stated on my well received previous Mobhunter article that the beta for Omens will be wider than Gates of Discord was. I look forward to the release of new details.
The next big bit of news is the revamp of Gates of Discord. A lot of folks aren't happy with Gates for a variety of reasons. The expansion appeared tailor made for Elemental / Time guilds but strange, difficult, and buggy encounters and a lack of good loot disappointed a lot of them. Everyone who faced it felt that the beasts of Taelosia hit a bit too hard. I still cannot walk ten feet through a town without someone reminding me of the 1200 point-hitting gnat that turned me into holy dungeon pizza. Lower level players found little reason to purchase Gates. Only one zone is huntable below 50, tributes became too expensive for their usefulness, and new tradeskills were often incomplete.
Details of the revamp are still hazy and only when we try Gates after the revamp will we know how good the changes were. The proposed changes include zone retuning, experience modification, easing travel, lowering output damage, increasing spell drops (again), increasing cash drops, and a reduction in required flags for Ikkinz (wherever that is). These sound good but even Brenlo's second explanation left out a little detail. Exactly what were the intended level ranges of the five open zones? What will the tuning of these zones entail? We'll know Wednesday, I assume.
In the mean time, begin preparing for war.